BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A Boynton Beach woman called WPTV after she allegedly lost $50,000 to a check-washing scheme.
Earlier this year, WPTV spoke with several business owners who were victims of check fraud.
Their money was allegedly stolen from the mail and the checks were washed.
"I was just astonished that the bank never caught it. It was the same check number but made out to different names,” Andre Weliky, owner of the Boca Car Wash, told WPTV in January.
"The big, the mother one, was Feb. 2 for $18,500,” Greg Cope, who operates a linen distribution company in Palm Beach Gardens, said. "They were able to change, you know, the name to the amount that's on the check, and, you know, it just became a really big hassle.”
According to FinCEN, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department, in 2022, reports of check fraud filed by banks nearly doubled to 680,000 from 350,000 in 2021.
“Normally when I make my IRS payments, I write a check. I put it in the mail and I make my payments,” Lorna Swartz, who lives in Boynton Beach, said.
Swartz is the latest check washing victim to contact WPTV.
“I called the police. I called the bank and indeed it was confirmed that it was a fraudulent check, that someone else other than the IRS had cashed it,” Swartz said.
She showed WPTV the original $50,000 check and the washed check.
“Forged my signature, left the amount,” Swartz said. “The entities that I’ve contacted include the fraud department of the bank, the police department, the post office.”
She says the postal service is investigating but her bank allegedly told her there is nothing they can do to help.
WPTV reached out to her bank Tuesday and the following statement was provided by Kyle Tarrance:
"At Truist, protecting our clients and their accounts continues to be a top priority. We take any potential fraud concerns seriously and fully investigate each claim."
“I feel abandoned. I would say I do not write checks at all anymore and I would use my credit card because there is much better protection,” Swartz said.
USPS recommends those who need to mail a check do so via certified mail and they suggest walking the check inside the post office as opposed to leaving it in a collection box. They also say to avoid mailing cash and money orders.
When it comes to sending money to the IRS, the agency suggests making payments through their website, irs.gov.